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Publisher's Summary

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.”

With this startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first sentence, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young traveling salesman who, transformed overnight into a giant, beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. Rather than being surprised at the transformation, the members of his family despise it as an impending burden upon themselves.

A harrowing - though absurdly comic - meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation, The Metamorphosis has taken its place as one of the most widely read and influential works of 20th-century fiction. As W. H. Auden wrote, “Kafka is important to us because his predicament is the predicament of modern man.”

FRANZ KAFKA (1883–1924), one of the major fiction writers of the twentieth century, was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague. His unique body of writing, much of which is incomplete and was mainly published posthumously, is considered by some people to be among the most influential in Western literature, inspiring such writers as Albert Camus, Rex Warner, and Samuel Beckett.

© Public Domain (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“In The Metamorphosis Kafka reached the height of his mastery: he wrote something which he could never surpass, because there is nothing which The Metamorphosis could be surpassed by - one of the few great, perfect poetic works of this century.” (Elias Canetti, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Kafka-esque terrific

Would you listen to The Metamorphosis again? Why?

A true classic. Works very well on audible. Almost a short story, but a wonderful narrative.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Depressing, but good book

Would you listen to The Metamorphosis again? Why?

Yes, because it is always good to read about human nature.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The main character, Gregor Samsa. All the others are more disgusting than the creature he becomes.

Did Ralph Cosham do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

This was the second book I heard with this narrator. I didn't like him very much. It's a matter of taste, but I didn't like his voice and his interpretations. He sounded rather monotonous.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Well, I felt a bit disgusted throughout the book, and a bit depressed with the end. All in all it was a very good book. It makes you think about life.

Any additional comments?

This book is about a human being who lived among verminous creatures. When he becomes a nasty bug like them, they realize they have to start living like human beings.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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So this guy wakes up as a bug...

So, this guy Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning as a cockroach. (Actually, the Wikipedia article has an interesting discussion about how Kafka never specified exactly what kind of bug Gregor turned into). His family freaks out a little, as you might expect, but then they sort of come to accept the situation. Gregor feels increasingly isolated as he cannot really communicate with them and he can no longer support them as he once did. Coexisting in a tiny apartment with a giant cockroachinsect becomes increasingly burdensome for the family. Eventually Gregor dies (implied, that he wills himself to death to spare his family further burden) and they're all relieved. The end.

Sort of a downer. I think it loses a lot in the translation, as apparently Kafka's prose in the original German was much of the reason for The Metamorphosis's high literary status.

This is a surrealistic piece which, technically, you could probably call "magical realism." (No explanation is ever given for Gregor's transformation into a giant bug, and no one seems curious about how such a thing could happen. They're just all rather distressed by the whole thing without ever really talking about it.

Frankly, as a story it was a bit flat and anti-climactic, and if there is some deeper meaning, I'm afraid I missed it. Would probably enjoy it more if I read it in the original German.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Written in 1915

This starts out with a man who wakes up as a big bug. Like in Amy Rand's Atlas Shrugged, his whole family depends upon him to make a living. The story is less about him being a bug and more about how his Mother, Father and sister cope with losing the bread winner in the house.

It must be remembered that it was written in 1915. Recently I read a story that was a modern version of this story and the bug kills his family. I hate to admit it, but I liked the modern version better.

FK is a great writer of interpersonal relations, it just was not what I was expecting.

It was not bad and it is only 2 hours long.

41 of 51 people found this review helpful

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Well written, but kinda bugged me...

This book deserves its reputation as being very well written. The premise (man turns into giant bug overnight) is completely implausible, but the writing was good enough that I could suspend my disbelief with modest effort. The narration is also very well done.

That said, I was left wondering whether I'd gotten the key point. If I did I imagine it is that no matter how serious or weird a thing that might happen to a person, their loved ones' sympathies will eventually wear thin and they'll begin to see that person as a mill stone around their necks, financially at the very least. Then they will likely want to get on with their lives without that person.

If that's it, fine. It's a valid observation. Maybe because this book has a reputation as a classic I expected a bit more. Specifically, I expect classics to both make profound observations about life AND tell a really great story. (The second being more important than the first, in my view.) This book made its profound observation, but its premise seemed a bit more bizarre than would seem really necessary.

Four stars overall. Worth reading.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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kafka's best

Where does The Metamorphosis rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The reading performance is excellant; But they all are very professionally done. As a book, I would rate this book as the the author's most original, well written, and profound.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Metamorphosis?

When even his fovorite sister betrays him, and the reader discovers Kafka's point of view on the human condition, that at bottom, we all are alone.

What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Listening to an audio book is a challenge for me, because it requires a continiuos consentrated focus that reading doesn't require. I often look up and ponder ideas, sorting them out, while reading, and resume, without any loss of place in the written text. Listening doesn't allow for such breaks. It reminds me of the joys of listening to stories on the radio, before Tv as a child. I just have to practice such listening skills again.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. I usually can't focus that long. I enjoy listening to a portion every day.

Any additional comments?

I'm happy I discovered AudioBooks. It brings a new kind of pleasure into my life.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Not my cup of tea.

Would you try another book from Franz Kafka and/or Ralph Cosham?

Sure but this one was awful...I know it has all kinds of under tones and meaning but it was boring and as a story dead.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something more entertaining. Not that it is all about entertainment. It is just after the last 3 hours. something less depressing.

Was The Metamorphosis worth the listening time?

No definitely not worth the time but it is only 3 hours more or less. I was hoping something interesting would happen. This is something I could imagine reading in high school.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Quite a Strange Little Book

Translated from German, The Metamorphosis is the story of how Gregor Samsa's transformation tears his family apart. I feel like there are hidden meanings that are just beyond my grasp. I suspect it's a commentary about how capitalism devours its workers when they're unable to work or possibly about how the people who deviate from the norm are isolated. However, I mostly notice how Samsa's a big frickin' beetle and his family pretends he doesn't exist.

The main thing that sticks out is what a bunch of jerks Samsa's family are. He's been supporting all of them for years in his soul-crushing traveling salesman job and now they're pissed that they have to carry the workload. Poor things. It's not like Gregor's sitting on the couch drinking beer while they're working. He's a giant damn beetle! Cut him some slack.

Overall: The narration was good, although the writing was a little confusing at times. This has a lot of hidden symbolism , and might take a few listens to uncover.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

I do not usually read short stories but after listening to this audio and plan to discover more. This story is timeless and very entertaining. I will forever look at bugs differently. The narration by Ralph Cosham is excellent and perfect for this story.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Seeing is believing..my tail is still wagging

Would you consider the audio edition of The Metamorphosis to be better than the print version?

YES

Who was your favorite character and why?

The father, he could throw an apple faster than Roger Clemens

Which character – as performed by Ralph Cosham – was your favorite?

Gregor,the bug

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

DEFinitly

Any additional comments?

Can't wait for mosquito season

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • trufflesmummy
  • 07-29-16

An uncomfortably necessary book to experience.

This was hard work for me to stomach happily. I found it cruel, sad, tragic and emotionally authentic. I'm glad I heard it. But it left me strangely bereft. The human condition can shift to extremes for self preservation.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephanie Jane
  • 09-04-13

Excellent introduction to Kafka

My first Kafka book which I approached with a little apprehension as I wasn't sure I would understand the story. My fears were unfounded as Metamorphosis is a very accessible story. I listened to it on audio and I think that hearing the words at speaking pace was good because I tend to rush when reading which, in this case, would have meant missing a lot of the more subtle meanings.
Gregor Samsa's transformation is the most obvious in Metamorphosis, but all the family undergo a change in their characters caused by his situation. I found myself able to identify with aspects of his sister's behaviour and his father's distance, as well as Gregor's sense of isolation.
Metamorphosis was an excellent introduction for me to Kafka's work and I shall seek out more of his stories.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • GenKan
  • 02-09-15

Poor Gregor

Where does The Metamorphosis rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was good, Id say top 5 because it was easy to consume and unlike anything else I've listened to.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Gregor because it seemed like there was no one who cared for him other than his sister.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

This is the first book Id say you could finish in one sitting. Fairly lightweight, strange but interesting. A classic for good reason

Any additional comments?

Guess you can take a lot of different things from this but I felt like it was a interesting take on growing old, getting to a point where you are not as useful as you used to and people don't depend on you anymore. Or like how some one who ends up in a wheelchair could feel. Poor Gregor

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Wras
  • 03-02-15

Wake up, you are not you any more

One day you are a vital human being, strong, productive, even respected then you metamorphose into a beetle, a paralysis, a heart attack, a cancer and you want to be your self and you try so hard it breaks your shell, your view of your self, and little by little that you begin to disappear, to embarrass the very ones you love, some people see you there behind the label, like a spectre and you try not be a problem but you have changed so much no one understands they are not aware of their chrysalis and can not hear your voice.
To wake up in one of Kafka’s visions is to be a modern human being, his warnings are not romantic or hopeful they are the truth of our time crystallised in literature, that describes the angst of the everyday person in allegories that are of our time.
This novella is one of those books everyone should read, it is an important part of our culture and a warning to all the temporarily able.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful